Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Hartlepool Maritime Museum including going aboard the HMS Trincomalee (a frigate built in 1817). I was never really taken to museums when I was a kid but the girls love them so they're a no-brainer for our holiday trips and naturally a proper 19thC naval fighting ship is right up my alley! The attraction itself was remarkably, a full afternoon's entertainment. There was a good number of highly detailed harbour shops with loads of stuff to do and read in them, a short film about being pressganged, a really quite impressive tour called 'Fighting Ships' and naturally, the ability to wander around the Trincomalee herself. And you could wander everywhere - the Captain's cabin, the Ward room, the tiny magazine room, the huge hold. It was brilliant!
And of course it got me thinking about some of the changes that I will have to make when I convert Duty & Honour to Hearts of Oak. One of the major challenges will be that the disciplinary divide onboard a ship is far bigger and stricter than in the army. I suspect that the Captain will remain a NPC role. I'm toying with the idea of a wholly midshipman and lieutenant 'party' or a wholly seaman party, or even troupe play. However, I am also aware that I want to differentiate the game from In Harms Way as well. On the more positive side, the place that the ship takes, akin to the regiment in D&H, is even stronger and naturally the breadth of the adventures to be had is even more varied. The character generation will have to be broadened as well to cover a lot more nationalities, which will test the system to its limits. The stuff I have added to the Expanded Skirmish rules will act as a model for ship-to-ship combat, which is something that I am quite excited about.
All in all, it's going to be a bit of a challenge, but one that I am looking forward to embracing.